Quinoa definitely isn’t something M and I make daily…although, looking on it, it really should be. This is a relatively cheap (25¢ per ounce for quinoa as opposed to 21¢ per ounce for rice) grain that’s packed with protein, manganese (nearly 50% of your daily needs!) and magnesium. It’s a great whole grain that’s easy to make, easy to eat, and makes the base for a mean salad.
The grain itself hails from the Peruvian region of South America, and is closer to grass than not. Quinoa itself is actually the grass’s seed, much like rice, oats, and flax.
M was not thrilled when I brought up quinoa as a food option. In fact, she looked at the finished, cooked product and said, “Wow, that looks like cra—ohh, uh. Yum?”
She isn’t really what I’d call a, ah, connoisseur, though, so I went ahead, mixed up my quinoa salad, and served it up like the proud mama I was.
Pheasants, do as I say, not as I do: I served the quinoa as a main dish, for our weekly vegetarian night. Nooooo. It took M’s untouched half of the salad and a margarita to fill me up afterward. M is right: this needs fish, chicken, shrimp…anything. But, it would make a lovely side dish for, say, roast chicken, or beef satay. It is not, however, the magically filling whole grain I’d dreamt of in my research of quinoa.
This recipe, however, was tasty, balanced and gracefully “Middle Eastern” in flavor. Definitely something I’ll come back to again and again…albeit, with some meat on the side.
Pheasant’s Quinoa Salad
1/2 c quinoa
1 c water (or chicken/vegetable/beef stock)
1 crushed garlic clove
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
feta cheese to taste
1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/8 c thinly sliced red onion
1/2 c pomegranate seeds
1/8 c cashews, chopped
salt to taste
2 tbsp poppy seed dressing
Set the quinoa in a pan (any small saucepan will do…I used the six inch saucepan we use for eggs) with the cup of liquid. Add the garlic clove, garlic powder, curry powder and 1/4 tsp salt in there, bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Time it for about 13 minutes.
In a large bowl, set the remaining ingredients, sans the salt, and mix well. When the quinoa is cooked, add it in as well. Mix and fluff, making sure to distribute all the ingredients throughout the quinoa. Taste, correct for salt and pepper, and serve!
Quinoa is a great alternative to the usual whole grains in your diet…you can use it as a breakfast cereal, or in place of rice or couscous in your usual meals.
How do you like to use your quinoa? Do you prefer it sweet or savory? What are your favorite add-ins?